We are very pleased to resume our seminar, albeit online!
4 Oct. 2021 (Tues.), 6:00 pm-7:30pm (Japan Standard Time)
Ryosuke Yokoe (University of Tokyo)
‘Brewers, Booze and Disease: Industrial Funding of Alcoholic Liver Disease Research in 1980s Britain’
Zoom (advance registration required)
Abstract: This paper examines the factors that compelled the British brewing industry to financially sponsor a set of scientific studies on liver disease during the 1980s, expounding on the nature of private-sector funding in clinical research. Through previously unexplored internal records of the Brewers’ Society (presently known as the British Beer and Pub Association), the paper underscores how drinks companies sought to contribute to wider policy debates on drunkenness and public health by seeking the aid of medical expertise. Partly to minimise its own responsibility for the rise of alcohol-related harm, the industry funded research projects that looked into factors other than alcohol that contributed to the development of liver cirrhosis. The identification of the disease’s inborn determinants relating to heredity and sex strengthened the notion that only a minority of drinkers were at risk of developing alcohol-related illnesses, undermining the call for policies that sought to reduce all forms of alcohol consumption. Although driven by self-interest, the industry nevertheless supported legitimate lines of inquiry that elucidated the complex, multifactorial causation of cirrhosis.
The seminar will adjourn to an optional online meeting room where you can continue conversation in a more informal setting.